Presenting in person is very different to presenting virtually and preparation is key. Below we have highlighted 10 ways to enhance your virtual presentation:
• Position your computer / camera – The most natural angle for the camera to capture your face is from the same level or a little above eye level. Position your webcam at the top of your screen or if you don’t have a secondary screen or webcam, grab some books and put your laptop on top of it until the camera is right across from your face / eye level. Avoid your camera looking up at you.
• Background – Backgrounds can help or hinder a presentation. Check what people can see behind you and ideally find a plain space such as a plain wall or bookshelf to use as a backdrop so that people focus on you and what you are saying and not what is happening behind you.
• Imagine your audience – Recording a presentation and talking into a camera may make you feel disconnected from your audience. Imagine you are speaking to a single person behind the lens, and keep your tone warm and conversational, retaining the same pauses and natural intonations you would for a physical talk. Be confident, remember to smile and don’t be afraid to embrace movement / body language. If you can be standing during your presentation, this will only serve to heighten the experience.
• Adjust your lighting source – This is so important! The light source should come from in front of you, natural light / windows are best. Avoid backlighting so you don’t become a silhouette on the screen. A desk lamp will offer additional lighting, helping the camera to focus on you and enable that eye contact (however avoid yellowy / orange globes if possible).
• Audio – Having a good camera mic, desk mic or headphones will help the quality of your audio delivery. Having the microphone as close to you as possible will aid in consistent and less distorted levels of your voice.
• Personalise – To help create a personalised experience for the audience, use the word YOU as if you are speaking to a single person, as opposed to everyone. It is a subtle difference, but this truly impacts engagement.
• Eye contact – When looking at the camera on your device, your audience will feel like you are looking at them. Try to look directly into the camera most of the time. Checking your notes /prompters every so often is perfectly fine but again speak to the audience as if you are having a conversation with someone directly standing in front of you.
• Relax – Take the time to prepare, get comfortable and relax before coming on live or while waiting for your Q&A session. Take a moment to do some breathing exercises and position yourself. On the day be online at least 15 minutes ahead of when your presentation is due.
• Dress the part – Even though participants will only see you from your chest or shoulders upwards, wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. The better you dress from head to toe, the better your posture will be and the better you’ll feel. Try to wear something that is solid in colour rather than patterned / busy, to draw the focus to your face. Remember, when you feel good, you’re a more relaxed and a more confident presenter.
• Eliminate distractions – Be sure to remove rustling papers, email pop-ups and sounds, and silence / de-vibrate your electronic devices. Make sure people in your recording environment can’t be heard from the room you are in and they know not to disturb you.
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